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Hermanus is renowned as the best land based whale watching destination in the world

Aside from being the best place to view whales on the planet, Hermanus is renowned for its wild beauty, artisanal food producers and its proximity to the Hemel-en-Aarde wine route. The town was originally called Hermanuspietersfontein, but the name was shortened because it was too long for the postal service.

Full of quaint boutiques, markets and galleries, the town is a popular South African tourist destination for local and international visitors. The town is a scenic 90 minute drive from Cape Town.

Activities in Hermanus

The pure air, pristine beaches and sheer tranquillity are a captivating combination in themselves, but for those looking for an energetic Hermanus holiday, a huge selection of outdoor pursuits is available.

There is plenty to do in Hermanus for the whole family including surfing, fishing, quad-biking, mussel-picking, kite-surfing, golf, tennis, hiking, cycling and horse riding, as well as the more convivial pursuit of wine tasting in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

The town’s fascinating history as a fishing village can be traced by visiting the Old Harbour museum, where old fishing boats and reconstructed fishermen’s shacks are on display. And for the more adventurous, explore the rich flora and fauna of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve with numerous hiking and mountain biking trails.

Over 1100 different plant species have been collected and identified within the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, an area of only 15 square kilometres. This makes it one of the six floral kingdoms of the world and compares well with the UK’s total number of 1500 species.

The Best Beaches in Hermanus

Looking out from the terrace at Birkenhead House, two of the finest Hermanus beaches can be seen just a few steps away. The Hermanus beach on the left as you face the ocean is Voëlklip, (‘bird rock’ in Afrikaans) which lends is ideal for swimming and sunbathing. The beach on the right is Nanny’s or Kamma Bay. The team at Birkenhead House will pack a picnic basket for you complete with beach bats and balls to take to the beach for a relaxed day on the sands.

Grotto beach is the longest strip of white sand in Hermanus and has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag Status. This award requires a high standard of cleanliness, environmental protection and rehabilitation, full-time lifeguards and security. Grotto beach in Hermanus lies to the East of Birkenhead House, an easy ten-minute walk away along the world-renowned cliff path.

When to visit Hermanus

Hermanus weather is moderate all year round. In peak summer season, from December to February, temperatures can climb as high as 34°C, but average at a pleasant 23°C.

During the winter months of June, July, and August, Hermanus has frequent rain and some chilly evenings, with lows of 10°C and an average temperature of 15°C – ideal if you plan to stay indoors and snuggle up by the fire enjoying some of the local Pinot Noirs. Generally, however, this season has many sunny and warm days.

When is the best time to visit....?

Where to stay?

Birkenhead House

Birkenhead House sets the standard for luxury hotels in Hermanus. With its exhilarating cliff-top position overlooking the whale watching paradise of Walker Bay, Birkenhead House provides luxury accommodation for those seeking time out to relax and recharge body and mind. Watch surfers carving through the waves and, for several months each year, witness Southern Right and Humpback Whales breaching just metres from the shore.

The hotel’s contemporary décor is an artful mix of beach-house and quirky opulence. The all-inclusive rate means that guests never need to leave the comfort of Birkenhead House, where all meals and drinks are included.

For the more adventurous, Hermanus offers activities aplenty including whale watching, shark cage diving, golf, horse riding on the beach, hiking, surfing, mussel picking and even wine tasting. The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is just a short drive away and is one of South Africa’s premier wine routes.

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